I refused to open my eyes. The blankets were warm, the air on my nose cold, and frankly I was exhausted.
Despite practically passing out from fatigue and sleeping pretty well considering my kids were in bed with me, I felt I’d had no rest. Five years straight of nursing and/or being pregnant hadn’t helped my body find its peak physical shape. It was morning and I had about 500 things to do. I wanted nothing to do with it, so I pretended to be asleep for just a few more minutes. That was how I handled things.
I LOVE(D) my kids and had done the unthinkable: sold my business to become a full-time stay-at-home-mom to my high energy boys. High-energy, high-need, and a huge challenge. I worked hard to help my husband’s business succeed. It turns out he couldn’t do anything without a few drinks though, and the initial attraction of his entrepreneurial drive had, eight years later, translated into an almost permanent “vacancy” sign in the role of husband and father, instead replaced with emotional abuse whenever he was around.
I pretended to be asleep. Days were long and repetitive in my small town in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. The internet was a new presence in the world, and helped a bit, but I still felt so disconnected.
People looked at my life from the outside and called me “lucky” and “blessed.” I knew I had a lot to be grateful for, and I was. I was also going under: worn down on every level, my famous fighting spirit struggled in a body that was quickly eroding, only able to stay upright about 45 minutes at a time. I was 33 years old.
I did my best to keep going, to keep learning, and to be the best version of myself. I meditated, did yoga, had friends, a home, my kids were doing well, and my husband’s business was growing. Everyone kept saying “how great” “you’re amazing,” and “you look so happy.” Everything SHOULD have been perfect.
All I knew was that I wasn’t OK. I kept saying “I can’t keep doing this. I can’t.” I told it to my husband and friends over and over, and I journaled it. I tried to hide it from the kids. I pretend to be asleep, but it was getting impossible.
As many women know, the moment we realise we can’t keep “doing it” anymore – whether “it” is a low-paying job, a bad marriage, dangerous living situation, sexual harassment, constantly living paycheck-to-paycheck, or any other way of living an inauthentic life – and the moment we actually stop can be a long time coming.
I was smart. I had common sense, lots of life experience, as well as graduating with honors from high-school and college. I was accomplished: I had started and sold a business, was raising two amazing boys, and had an enviable life. However, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get off the runaway train my life had become.No one had advice except to wait it out, and try an antidepressant.
I didn’t want to live a life that needed me to take drugs to survive.
I wanted change. I didn’t want it to happen TO me, but through me and I didn’t know how to do that either. I had no guides here but it was time to wake up. When I did, the train crashed and I got off completely gracelessly.
I divorced, moved out with the kids, and quickly found that despite two jobs, I couldn’t make it work. I started a new business. I scrambled but I wasn’t making it. I met a man and fell in love, petitioned to move, fought hard legally, and started a new job across the country waiting to hear when I could bring my kids out to be with me. A week went by and the news came: I was an “exceptional” mother and had met every request, but the kids could not move to be with me.
Heart-break redefined. I could barely breathe from the pain. I called my kids EVERY night, saw them every possible chance, attended major events, did parent-teacher conferences and doctor updates from thousands of miles away, and retained parenting rights. I was uncomfortable, but willing to change.
I spent about a decade in court fighting for my boys, sometimes acting as my own lawyer (which I am not) in a town where judges had to recuse themselves because of knowing my ex-husband too well. I fought a man who quickly learned to use the court system as a way to abuse me financially and emotionally by withholding my kids and getting child support by feigning poverty despite owning five businesses. A majority of my family stopped speaking to me and I lost a lot of friends.
I was constantly feeling the unspoken repercussions in court and life for being a “bad woman,” because I made the choice a man would make in that situation: to build up a life so great that it served ME as well as others. A life that would allow me to really show up for my kids.
I hit rock bottom financially, emotionally, spiritually. I lost EVERYTHING and began amassing debt. Every time I thought life couldn’t get harder, it would. Which, it turns out, was all GREAT NEWS. I had no choice but to turn INTO the change and learn to do it consciously instead of in reaction. I worked relentlessly on myself for years, staying present and aware the entire way. Crafted in fire.
What came out of it was pure beauty: the ability to create a truly authentic life, to see through obstacles for what’s really happening and developing a strong intuition available at will. To be responsible without drowning in it through the emergence of a deep self-love, the ability to help anyone in ANY situation, and a deep PEACE no matter what is happening.
I now live – very much awake – a dream life that gets better every day: I’m near the ocean in a gorgeous community, surrounded by amazing friends. I’m painting, writing and designing as well as running a strong coaching business. I’m sharing my life experience to help others change to improve their lives and businesses. My wish is that others start living an awake life BEFORE they have to crash their train and gracelessly dismount. But for those who find me after the crash, I can help build a beautiful life, too.
More about Laura
Laura is our Resident Conscious Change Coach here at Tall Guides Magazine and we’d like to thank her for sharing her story, vulnerability and honesty with us in this piece. If you can relate to Laura’s story or if there is a topic you’d like to see us cover, why not get in touch. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions and if you would like to connect with Laura, you’ll find her at www.LauraLinden.com or on Instagram.